Franklin & Marshall Punter Dan Eggertsson Featured in Lancaster Sunday News

LANCASTER, PA -- Of the 46 players to receive All-America honors in Franklin & Marshall football history, only two were punters.

Dan Eggertsson kicked his way onto that list this year. He even kicked his way to Mexico.

Eggertsson, who averaged 40.7 yards per punt, was one of 42 NCAA Division III seniors who made up this year's Team USA in the Aztec Bowl.

"Playing on an all-star team with basically all All-Americans was just amazing to be a part of,'' said Eggertsson, from Royal Palm, Fla. "The stature of kids - many who were all-time leading rushers, and so many kids with insane stats - just to be a part of that, I felt like I had accomplished a lot."

In the game, Eggertsson averated 39.6 yards on five punts, including one inside the 20-yard line, to help Team USA to a 23-3 win over Team Mexico Dec. 11 at Estadio Cancun 86 in Cancun.

"It is the only national [football] team, so there was a natural pride there for me, and it felt good to play for the U.S.," said Eggertsson.

Eggertsson is the first F&M player to be named to all four Division III All-America teams.

Eggertsson was voted to the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches first team, The Associated Press Little All-America third team and Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-America third team. Most recently, voted Eggertsson to its All-America second team.

Eggertsson, a religious-studies major, was also selected to the 2004 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America College Division second team.

"Academic All-American means a lot to me because it shows that I did more than just play football," said Eggertsson. Eggertsson received the 2004 Rev. Arthur Bailey Award, which goes to F&M's outstanding religious-studies student.

Eggertsson's 40.7-yard average led the Centennial Conference in punting this year, and his 63 punts for 2,567 yards marked the second-most yards ever by a F&M punter. His average set a school record, surpassing the previous mark of 39.9, set by F&M's only other All-America punter, Jon Bushey, in 1997.

At placekicker, Eggertsson was 7-of-12 on field goals and 36-of-38 on PATs for 57 points. He finished second on the team in scoring, behind tailback Scott Stephen.

F&M (8-3) finished in a five-way tie for first in the Centennial Conference and won the ECAC Southwest Bowl. "The goal for my season was to be first-team all-conference,'' Eggertsson said. "Anything beyond that, I felt like I could achieve, but it wasn't a sure thing. And then I just happened to have a great season. I was pretty surprised when I found out that I made All-American, so it just felt like it was icing on the cake."

In 2003, Eggerttson was named honorable mention as a punter by the conference. This year, he was a unanimous All-Centennial Conference first-team selection as both a placekicker and punter.

Eggertsson is also an excellent golfer.

He was a member of the 2003 Centennial Conference men's golf championship team. Over the summer, he competed in the Florida Amateur Golf Championship.

But he considers himself primarily a football player. Even during the golf season, Eggertsson would find himself practicing his punting.

Eggertsson has always seen kicking as a source of fun. As a child, he convinced his mother to buy him a kicking tee, and he had a set of goal posts in his backyard.

"In high school, I made varsity in my first year, so I got to play four years,'' he said, "and I just kicked the ball well enough to play in college."

Once at F&M, he was helped by F&M's coaching staff. "Coach [Tom] Gilburg used to punt for the Colts in the NFL, so he helped me my first two years," said Eggertsson.

Gilburg retired from F&M after 28 years as head coach in 2002. The past two years, Bill Gorrow served as Eggertsson's personal kicking coach. Gorrow was formerly the kicking coach at Georgetown, and he's also F&M's men's lacrosse coach.

Practice was important for Eggertsson.

"The more I kicked, the better technique I learned and the more consistent I became,'' Eggertsson said. "You just keep on kicking and you get better as you keep on doing it.'' Eggertsson's career average of 37.8 yards per punt ranks him second all-time at F&M.

"If you would have told me that I would be an All-American before I came here, I probably would have laughed at you," Eggertsson said. "It shows that I can accomplish anything that I dedicate myself to."